Cauldron of confusion, Telangana Congress stares at bleak future

The grand old party would have retained its deposit had it secured at least 37,000 votes.

Published: 07th November 2022 07:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th November 2022 07:39 AM   |  A+A-

Gandhi Bhavan, the Congress headquarters in Hyderabad, wears a deserted look after party’s defeat in the Munugode byelection on Sunday | rvk rao

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The disastrous show by the Congress in the Munugode bypoll where its candidate Palvai Sravanthi Reddy secured only 23,906 votes has left the party in an embarrassing position of losing its deposit. 

The grand old party would have retained its deposit had it secured at least 37,000 votes. Interestingly, when Sravanthi contested in the 2014 Munugode election as an Independent, she got 27,441 votes. Therefore, it appears that being a Congress candidate eroded her vote share.  

Following Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy’s resignation as Congress MLA and move to the BJP, confusion appeared to prevail in the party especially when Rajagopal’s brother Komatireddy Venkat Reddy did not campaign for Sravanthi. 

Other senior party leaders in charge of mandals and villages did not campaign seriously. Owing to this, the party could not retain its traditional voter base which split up following Rajagopal’s exit. Some of his supporters moved to the BJP with Rajagopal, some to the TRS while others lingered on with unease in the Congress. 

Party seniors have found fault with star campaigner Venkat Reddy who flew to Australia when things were on a boil in Munugode. An audio clip which purportedly had him appealing to party leaders to support his brother and then a video from Sydney airport where he was seen telling supporters that Congress would get only 10,000 votes went viral, harming the party’s chances further.

Top leaders steered clear of campaign Congress campaign committee chairman and former MP Madhu Yashki Goud and former Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Raja Narsimha both avoided taking up any responsibility in the bypoll. Former ministers like Jana Reddy, Geetha Reddy, Sudarshan Reddy and several former MPs and MLAs too steered clear of the Munugode campaign. 

Senior Congress leaders who earlier enjoyed ministerial positions did not even donate to Sravanthi’s election fund while both the TRS and BJP reportedly spent crores of rupees. A source said that only three or four leaders spent decent money on the bypoll. 

A majority of senior leaders said they were busy with Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra and avoided going to Munugode. TPCC chief Revanth Reddy, MLC Jeevan Reddy, former Minister Ramreddy Damodar Reddy, MLA Seethakka, Former MLAs Vem Narender Reddy, Vijaya Ramana Rao campaigned regularly. Nalgonda MP Uttam Kumar Reddy campaigned twice a week in his in-charge mandal Choutuppal. Munugode did not rank very high in the diary of CLP leaders Bhatti Vikramarka and former Minister Shabbir Ali. AICC secretary and MLA Sridhar Babu spent his most of time in the Bharat Jodo Yatra. He was seen in Munugode only on the last three days of campaigning. 

Revanth’s statement that both the TRS and BJP were plotting to get him removed as PCC chief caused anxiety among the cadre. The Congress earlier lost its deposits in Dubbaka and Huzurabad. In Nalgonda district, the party earlier lost in Huzurnagar. 


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